Realising The Broader Value of Vaccines in the UK: Ready for Prime Time?

Brassel, S., Neri, M. and Steuten, L. 

Consulting Report
February 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the broad and devastating health, economic and societal impact of a highly infectious and deadly disease. In addition to the human suffering of COVID-19 patients, the pandemic is taking a heavy toll patients’ families, friends, colleagues, and other social networks. On healthcare staff working around the clock, wave after wave. And on the capacity of the NHS, buckling under the pandemic pressures with consequences that will last for years. Then, there’s the disastrous economic impact, crippling economies in the UK and worldwide.

Prices for the Covid-19 vaccines released to date are low. Some manufacturers are promising not to make any profit at all. Given the range and scale of the impact caused by Covid-19, they offer phenomenal value. The ability to generate such broad value to society is, however, by no means unique to COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, health economists have long recognised the broader societal value of vaccines and called for the consideration of this in vaccines value assessments. Therefore, it may be surprising to learn that these broader value aspects are not typically considered when countries decide whether and how much to pay for new medicines and treatments.

Our prior work on this topic exposed large gaps between vaccines' potential broader value and the recognition of such value in England's HTA appraisals. This status quo is worrying as it risks undervaluation and consequently underfunding of vaccines. Yet creating change in how vaccine assessments are done is not trivial.

To drive change towards recognising and rewarding the broader value of vaccines in the UK, this third report on the broader value of vaccines as commissioned by the ABPI Vaccines Group, sets out actionable short- and long-term recommendations. As the COVID-19 pandemic put the spotlight on the broader value of vaccines, this report helps them to get ready for prime time.